Whether you want something cold, sweet, or savory, here are three common junk foods and their healthy alternatives for whenever those late-night cravings are getting the better of you.
Ice Cream Frozen Bananas
One pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream contains 1,160 calories, over half of which are from fat. And even if you go for the plain vanilla flavor, you’re only saving yourself 240 calories. Picking up Ben & Jerry’s Raspberry Fudge Chunk frozen Greek yogurt instead will lower the calorie count for an entire pint down to 760 and cut out about two-thirds of the fat, which isn’t bad as long as you can stop yourself from eating the entire pint in one sitting.
But if you really want the taste of frozen, creamy goodness with only a small fraction of the calories, take a ripe banana, peel it, freeze it, and blend it. It will end up being the same consistency as soft-serve ice cream, and the average banana only contains about 100 calories.
Candy Bars Fruit Dipped in Dark Chocolate
It’s no secret that candy bars have little nutritional value to speak of, but they’re just so darn good. Next time you want to grab a Snickers (which has just under 300 calories in a single bar), reach for some fruit and dark chocolate instead. The fruit will give you a healthy dose of sugar, and the bittersweet dark chocolate is high in cancer-fighting antioxidants and has been shown to be healthy in moderation.
Pizza may get a bad rap for being greasy and full of fat, but it doesn’t always have to be that way. A thin crust pizza with tomato sauce, a light sprinkling of cheese, spinach, garlic, and your meat of choice can be just as healthy as it is delicious.
Keeping the crust thin keeps your carb intake at a minimum, adding spinach is an easy way to sneak some more vegetables into your diet, and whatever meat you choose will provide you with satiating protein. And as an added bonus, the tomato sauce is rich in lycopene, which has been shown to help prevent and fight cancer—prostate cancer in specific.
Alex Francis is a freelance writer and former athlete living in the Los Angeles area. Most recently, she has been working with Prosvent (www.prosvent.com) to advocate for prostate health. She became very familiar with junk food alternatives during her athletic career and is happy to share them with whoever will listen.